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Any cuckoos out there? ... and other BirdWatch/NatureWatch news


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27 minutes ago, zxDaveM said:

 

Foxes may kill but not eat, when they get disturbed. If left to their own devices, they will cache most of the kills for leaner times, away from the kill site within their territory. So it looks awful, but has a logic in terms of a survival strategy.

A good point, but It's not clear what would disturb them.  The neighbours go to bed, sleep through the fox's visit, and wake in the morning to find all their chickens dead, mostly beheaded. It would have to be done at dusk or just after dawn because the chickens take (took) themselves to bed just before it gets dark and the automatic door system shuts them in for the night and lets them out again as it becomes light in the morning.  Would a cat disturb a fox?  In fact the fox would have to haul the chickens over several fences and walls to a cache site so it's not the most convenient location.

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maybe a cat - or another fox. And perhaps after making the kills, they couldn't get their victims out of the pen (over/under/through the fences) in time, before people started moving about. Its definitely not pleasant, but the fox isn't being deliberately malicious as people would be. As I say, there is a method in their apparent madness - which is difficult to comes to terms with if they are your chickens!!

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I have taken my camera on a few walks recently and barely seen a bird.  Today when I left it at home for a 6 mile loop round the roadbeds at Dunwich beach, we saw four avocets, lots of herons, three large deer, what was possibly a female marsh harrier and got within feet of a reed bunting. Sod's law!

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3 hours ago, Quintus said:

I have taken my camera on a few walks recently and barely seen a bird.  Today when I left it at home for a 6 mile loop round the roadbeds at Dunwich beach, we saw four avocets, lots of herons, three large deer, what was possibly a female marsh harrier and got within feet of a reed bunting. Sod's law!

 

Story of my life too!

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I sympathise Quintus! 

Have been trying to record the birds in my garden but it is Sod's law that just as you get camera and set to video they all fly off 😩

Today I was trying to record all the baby starlings in the garden ....SO NOISY! 

If I do get a reasonable recording that's short enough will try to post here!! 

 

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Aaaaah gorgeous little bird and no mean feat to catch them in a picture as they are like quicksilver moving around. 

Ive often thought oh there's a little mouse in the I he and it turns out to be a little wren. 

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Another fabulous day on the fells. Many more cuckoos than open car parks in Buttermere this morning - just the National Park main car park in the village and the parking area at Lanthwaite Green, with all the National Trust car parks closed. I found myself above a double rainbow on Hobcarton End and then I'm pretty sure I saw a couple of ring ouzles near the top of Grisedale Pike. I’d been disappointed not to see any red squirrels yesterday or at Buttermere in the morning but I saw one in Hobcarton Woods just before getting back to the car. The squirrel’s strategy seemed to be to keep very still so I did manage to get a good look whilst maintaining physical distancing. There are some special cairns and view points I try to visit in mid May and the easing of lockdown restrictions has come at just the right time for me, giving me two memorable days back on such familiar ground.

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9 hours ago, JohnS said:

 I’d been disappointed not to see any red squirrels yesterday or at Buttermere in the morning but I saw one in Hobcarton Woods just before getting back to the car. The squirrel’s strategy seemed to be to keep very still so I did manage to get a good look whilst maintaining physical distancing. 

 

How lucky you are!  My childhood home backed on to Christchurch Park in Ipswich and red squirrels were a common sight.  Nowadays there are just a few clinging on in Thetford Forest, as I understand it, but otherwise there are none in East Anglia.  

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3 hours ago, AnneMarriott said:

 

How lucky you are!  My childhood home backed on to Christchurch Park in Ipswich and red squirrels were a common sight.  Nowadays there are just a few clinging on in Thetford Forest, as I understand it, but otherwise there are none in East Anglia.  

Small world - we lived for ten years in a house facing that park in Westerfield Road. Never saw a red squirrel there, though there was a resident tawny owl who lived in a very exposed tree hole by a main path and became quite a local celebrity. 

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45 minutes ago, Quintus said:

Small world - we lived for ten years in a house facing that park in Westerfield Road. Never saw a red squirrel there, though there was a resident tawny owl who lived in a very exposed tree hole by a main path and became quite a local celebrity. 

And a friend who takes her daily exercise in Christchurch posted a photo on her social media yesterday showing the owl was back in residence. 

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7 hours ago, Quintus said:

Small world - we lived for ten years in a house facing that park in Westerfield Road. Never saw a red squirrel there, though there was a resident tawny owl who lived in a very exposed tree hole by a main path and became quite a local celebrity. 

I lived at 1 Westerfield Road until I was 7, then moved to Jupiter Road, off Woodbridge Road East, near to Rushmere Heath.  I'm talking about the 40s and 50s here so probably before your time!

 

Incidentally I attended Ipswich High School for Girls which occupied three or four large converted houses in Westerfield Road and then moved to Woolverstone Hall on the Orwell after it closed as a boarding school for boys from London run by the London County Council.  I can't remember when that school closed or when the High School moved there.

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2 hours ago, AnneMarriott said:

I lived at 1 Westerfield Road until I was 7, then moved to Jupiter Road, off Woodbridge Road East, near to Rushmere Heath.  I'm talking about the 40s and 50s here so probably before your time!

 

Incidentally I attended Ipswich High School for Girls which occupied three or four large converted houses in Westerfield Road and then moved to Woolverstone Hall on the Orwell after it closed as a boarding school for boys from London run by the London County Council.  I can't remember when that school closed or when the High School moved there.

 

Yes, before my time, though by coincidence, one of my early girlfriends lived in Jupiter Road. I was at Ipswich School, which was then 99% boys - the girl's school was still across the park in the 70s and its occupants were the focus of most of our attention. It moved out to Woolverstone in the early 90s and the houses were converted back; we were a few doors up on the corner with Gainsborough Road.

 

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9 hours ago, Quintus said:

 

Yes, before my time, though by coincidence, one of my early girlfriends lived in Jupiter Road. I was at Ipswich School, which was then 99% boys - the girl's school was still across the park in the 70s and its occupants were the focus of most of our attention. It moved out to Woolverstone in the early 90s and the houses were converted back; we were a few doors up on the corner with Gainsborough Road.

 

Even smaller world - my brother has recently retired from Ipswich School where he taught modern languages and was also boarding house master.  The High School didn't have much by way of grounds and our breaks used to be taken across the road in the park.  There was no physical boundary as such, but we all knew where "out of bounds" was because of the location of certain trees.  Any chance of us coinciding with any of the Ipswich School boys was remote to say the least!

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On ‎20‎/‎05‎/‎2020 at 22:52, LinMM said:

I sympathise Quintus! 

Have been trying to record the birds in my garden but it is Sod's law that just as you get camera and set to video they all fly off 😩

Today I was trying to record all the baby starlings in the garden ....SO NOISY! 

If I do get a reasonable recording that's short enough will try to post here!! 

 

 

I've had so many starlings feeding their babies in my garden this morning, about 50 birds at least, that I'm trying to keep a low profile in case the noise irritates my neighbours, don't think they share my enthusiasm.  At the moment they have gone and the sparrows are back!

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I popped back to see the avocets this morning; couldn't get close as some birders had beaten us to the good spots, but we were able to watch their wonderful courtship ritual.

 

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lqBM18L.jpg

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On 21/05/2020 at 20:52, JohnS said:

Another fabulous day on the fells. Many more cuckoos than open car parks in Buttermere this morning - just the National Park main car park in the village and the parking area at Lanthwaite Green, with all the National Trust car parks closed. I found myself above a double rainbow on Hobcarton End and then I'm pretty sure I saw a couple of ring ouzles near the top of Grisedale Pike. I’d been disappointed not to see any red squirrels yesterday or at Buttermere in the morning but I saw one in Hobcarton Woods just before getting back to the car. The squirrel’s strategy seemed to be to keep very still so I did manage to get a good look whilst maintaining physical distancing. There are some special cairns and view points I try to visit in mid May and the easing of lockdown restrictions has come at just the right time for me, giving me two memorable days back on such familiar ground.

You are lucky. I haven't got out on the fells since early February (since the weather was dreadful for most of February). I don't have a car, and don't feel justified in taking the bus even though it would only be for a few miles, so even though I'm within spitting distance of the fells I can't quite reach them without making it a long day's walk once getting there and back home are factored in. I did walk as far as Low Lorton the other day - I could say that I set foot just on the edge of a fell.

 

I haven't heard a cuckoo at all where I live. I would usually hear them in the woods around Loweswater and in Borrowdale.

Edited by The_Red_Shoes
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Just went round the block for a twilight walk - and heard a Song Thrush competing with the Blackbirds. First time I've heard one in AGES! Quite made my evening, even if it is a relatively common bird

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Cuckoos pretty constant in Whinlatter and Buttermere woods these last two days. Stonechats on the fellside and skylarks above. And pipits too. One red squirrel in Buttermere village with a large nut from last autumn seemed quite content a couple of yards ahead of me until chance to nip under a garden gate. Four reds in Burtness wood when I stopped for lunch. After lunch I thought a fifth smaller red was coming towards me but it was a stoat. When it noticed me it turned around and eventually left the path. Idyllic walking and good to be on the fells early morning.
 

But rather astonished by the numbers of cars parked on the roadside and appalled by the detritus left for others to clean up, both much worse than bank holiday weekends. A National Park survey found just under 70% of those polled were visiting the Lake District for the first time: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-52889903

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2 hours ago, JohnS said:

 

But rather astonished by the numbers of cars parked on the roadside and appalled by the detritus left for others to clean up, both much worse than bank holiday weekends. A National Park survey found just under 70% of those polled were visiting the Lake District for the first time: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-52889903

 

littering is one thing that is guaranteed to make me blow my top. Not long back from a walk in the local park, and there were pools of litter in the open spaces, where people (probably ill brought up youngsters) had been gathering in groups. Some patches of litter not 10ft from a bin. I really struggle with the mentality of people who open something up, or finish what they are consuming, and just chuck the packaging on the floor. If there is no bin, can't be difficult just to pop it back into the carrier bag it was brought in, and pop it in the bin as you leave or at home when you get there. GRRRRRR!

Rant over... for now

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3 hours ago, zxDaveM said:

 

littering is one thing that is guaranteed to make me blow my top. Not long back from a walk in the local park, and there were pools of litter in the open spaces, where people (probably ill brought up youngsters) had been gathering in groups. Some patches of litter not 10ft from a bin. I really struggle with the mentality of people who open something up, or finish what they are consuming, and just chuck the packaging on the floor. If there is no bin, can't be difficult just to pop it back into the carrier bag it was brought in, and pop it in the bin as you leave or at home when you get there. GRRRRRR!

Rant over... for now

Agreed!  Lately I have been incorporating a solo litter-pick into the daily dog walk.  The playing fields opposite us are private land with a single right of way between Datchet and Eton.  The authorities first introduced dog waste bins and then litter bins when the dog waste bins were used for general litter (and soon filled up!).  Despite this many people seem incapable of using the bins, or they try to, find them full and leave plastic bags full of food wrappings nearby for the foxes to investigate, resulting in a wide scattering of rubbish.  It's such a shame.  We're so lucky to have free access to miles of open land, woods and riversides - wouldn't you think it stands to reason that if you set off for a nice picnic you wouldn't choose a spot where some other lazy person has left their detritus?  It's not just the unpleasing sight, it's the danger to wildlife (and dogs) that distresses me.  Hence the litter pick.  This morning I was horrified to find, right in the middle of the fields,  a large collection (about 100 or so)  of those little gas bottles used to blow up balloons, plus assorted cigarette boxes, stubs and so on and a full 2 litre bottle of Fanta.  An odd collection, I thought.

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Do you mean the little silver canisters that contain nitrous oxide? If you are finding quantities of them I think the police would be interested before they’re called to an incident at the site. 
 

My annoyance since the C-19 lockdown is on our daily walk we encounter discarded wet/baby wipes and latex gloves on verges. We’re in a rural area but not a beauty spot and haven’t encountered any new walkers but have constantly been passed by lots of cars so do wonder if they’re discarded from the vehicles. 
 

Still haven’t heard a cuckoo but the house martins returned this week. 

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1 hour ago, Jane said:

Do you mean the little silver canisters that contain nitrous oxide? If you are finding quantities of them I think the police would be interested before they’re called to an incident at the site. 
 

 

Yes, those are the ones.  I didn't think of notifying the police - sadly my experience of getting any interest from Thames Valley police in a variety of incidents over the decades: burglaries, vandalism, arson, drug dealing (well, OK mainly cannabis, but still …), wildlife destruction and (probably most disturbing) prostitution in cars - all the joys of living in a tucked-away little backwater! - have stopped me ever bothering them again.

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5 minutes ago, AnneMarriott said:

Yes, those are the ones.  I didn't think of notifying the police - sadly my experience of getting any interest from Thames Valley police in a variety of incidents over the decades: burglaries, vandalism, arson, drug dealing (well, OK mainly cannabis, but still …), wildlife destruction and (probably most disturbing) prostitution in cars - all the joys of living in a tucked-away little backwater! - have stopped me ever bothering them again.

Sadly my experiences with our local police are similar, once even asking me to remind them where our village was 🙄. I’ve found recently you can report some events via a weblink on the police website and I would be tempted to report the gas canisters purely because if in the future there is a death or serious injury at this site involving nitrous oxide it won’t be on your conscience. 

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1 hour ago, Jane said:

Sadly my experiences with our local police are similar, once even asking me to remind them where our village was 🙄. I’ve found recently you can report some events via a weblink on the police website and I would be tempted to report the gas canisters purely because if in the future there is a death or serious injury at this site involving nitrous oxide it won’t be on your conscience. 

Without wishing to sound unduly harsh, I don't think my conscience would be at risk.  If I thought for a minute that anyone was being coerced into it, that would be a different matter.  People who indulge in this sort of activity are surely the risk takers - they must be aware of the risks but choose to ignore them on the basis of "it won't happen to me".  It saddens me, but no more than the number of deaths in the Jubilee River each year - suicides or daft lads who jump from bridges regardless of the signs warning of cold water, sudden changes of depth up to 7 metres (it's a hydraulically operated flood relief channel) fast flow, undertows and concealed support structures.  

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You'd think, with the lockdown and social distancing and whatnot, that littering wouldn't be so much of a thing these days, but I suppose that would be optimistic.

 

In the meantime, with the lockdown we're getting stuff delivered from Amazon rather than going over to the garden centre - I can only imagine what the Amazon drivers think of having to deliver great heavy bags of bird seed and boxes of suet, but we didn't want to deprive the birds just because of coronavirus. 

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No cuckoo, but respectively below a meadow pipit, reed bunting, skylark and marsh harrier from our walk by the Alde river yesterday.  Also saw an adder, but it slithered off while I was fumbling with my phone....

 

 

JAEO5Zo.jpg

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  • alison changed the title to Any cuckoos out there? ... and other BirdWatch/NatureWatch news

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